Reviews

The advent of print in the Turkic world in the nineteenth century created new connections and new audiences that stretched beyond older cultural and political boundaries.  These new phenomena were encapsulated in the success of Tercüman, the newspaper published almost single-handedly by Ismail Bey Gasprinskii from Bahçesaray from 1883 onwards.  The newspaper is credited with disseminating the ideas of Muslim reform across the Turkic-speaking world and with spreading the idea of their unity.  Gasprinskii sought to write in a language that would be understood across the Turkic world.   This article seeks to examine the impact of Gasprinskii’s ideas of the Turks of the Principality of Bulgaria around the turn of the twentieth century.  The authors find that Gasprinskii (locally called Gaspirali) was interested in the fate of the Turks of Bulgaria and that his ideas were influential among Bulgarian Turks at a moment when national forms of identity began to replace religious ones among them.  The authors provide long quotes from articles concerning Bulgaria that appeared in Tercüman as well as a close reading of Turkish-language newspapers from Bulgaria (mostly the Tuna of Ruse and Balkan of Plovdiv) to argue that Gasprinskii’s “relations with minority Muslims—whether in Tsarist Russia, among Bulgaria’s Turks, or elsewhere—and his messages can be viewed today as among some of the earliest expressions of ethno-religious solidarity, modernism, activism, and hope to have emerged within the region in ways that are still highly resonant today” (498-499).   This article is extremely useful for its use of Turkish-language sources from Bulgaria, although its overall framing could have been stronger.

Adeeb Khalid, Carleton College, MN
CER: I-3.2.C-222